By Enzo Rossi (Political Science) & Dan Hassler-Forest (English)
In Friday’s issue of De Volkskrant, Arthur Schram argues that all is well with the managerial university. Colleagues and students in the Maagdenhuis should just abandon their left-wing romanticism and get down to churning out the next batch of degrees, papers, or whatever they are told to produce. So let’s take a closer look at his arguments, of which we can discern two: (i) rendementsdenken mandates whatever restructuring it requires, and (ii) professional managers are the best judges of that.
The first argument trades on the ambiguity of the term rendementsdenken. The term is stretched over a continuum that runs from “balancing your books” to “maximizing your profits”. Hardly anyone disagrees with the former, and hardly anyone who works or studies at a university thinks that it should be run like a corporation, to enrich shareholders or management. In fact, hardly anyone thinks that way about any other kind of public service—such as health care and judiciary workers, for instance.